Saeed Al Hajri wins the Middle East Rally. Image Credit: Gulf News Archives

1983 - An estimated 5,000 people gathered outside the Amman Marriott Hotel to cheer home Jordan rally winner Saeed Al Hajri. Prince Abdullah, son of King Hussain, was the first to congratulate him. Al Hajri was lilted shoulder high and carried through the crowd to the victory celebrations. “Tm exhausted,” said the 26-year-old driver. “It’s the hardest rally I’ve ever driven. There were times when John [Spiller] and I thought we’d never make it to the end.” The length and ruthlessness of the rally, the first round in the New Middle East Challenge, took an alarming toll of cars. Out of nearly 30 starters, only six made it to the finish. Just how treacherous the rally was, can be measured by the fact that the Opel won despite five punctures and a near-disaster when the oil cooler broke on one of the longest stages and sprayed its contents over the windscreen.

Other major events on August 13

1868 Earthquakes in Peru and Ecuador kill 25,000 and damage property worth $300million (Dh1.1 billion).

1898 Carl Gustav Witt discovers 433 Eros, the first near-Earth asteroid to be found.

1898 US forces capture Manila from Spain during the Spanish-American War.

1960 The Central African Republic and Chad proclaim their independence from Franc.

1961 East Germany closes the Brandenburg Gate to seal border between East and West Berlin.

1983 The Indian government starts to erect a barbed-wire fence along the entire 2,500-mile border with Bangladesh.

1993 A six-storey hotel in Thailand collapses, killing at least 24.

1994 Nato secretary-general Manfred Woemer dies after a long battle with cancer.

1995 Norwegian hostage Hans Christian Ostroe is killed by Kashmir militants.

1998 Rebels fighting Congolese president Laurent Kabila seize a power transformer in western Congo.

1999 German tennis legend Steffi Graf retires from tennis.

2001 Macedonia’s rival political leaders sign a landmark peace accord aimed at ending six months of bloody conflict.

2005 Former New Zealand prime minister David Lange dies at the age of 63.

2015 Huge explosions at a chemical warehouse at Tianjin port in China, kills at least 104 people.

2016 Michael Phelps retires from swimming after winning 23rd Olympics gold.